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Krispy

Using eels in the surf

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It sounds like a lot of guys find using eels a hassle. I thought I would post how I maintain and carry eels, and get some other suggestions or Q&A. BTW, this how it works for me and how I've refined it, there's no oneway to do it.

 

First off, I keep an eel tank to have snakes onhand all the time, be able to cull size, and keep from throwing away eels I don't use in a nights fishing. I've had some eels in there an entire season, live happily and be pardoned in late Nov.

 

In the past I used a black 55gal barrell successfully, but now I keep a 128qt (30gal) cooler on the shady side of the house. The bottom interior is painted black w Krylon Fusion plastic paint, which keeps the eels a dark color. Also, I added a large 3 inch ball valve for quick draining from HD, and notched the top corner of cooler to allow 2 air hoses to pass through.

 

I use a basic fish tank airator that has two air lines. The airator is in the basement and the air hoses pass thru where my dryer vent exits the house. Keeping it inside also means its pulling cooler air in the summer.

 

When transporting eels to the fishing grounds, I use one of the small red and white Igloo hard coolers and load up 12-20 eels per trip. I also keep several frozen 12oz and 8oz plastic bottles at all times and I throw one into the eel cooler, Ill do this before I start loading gear. If its a short trip Ill open the bottle to let the melting water additionally settle the eels but for longer nights I keep it closed. The eels will not suffocate for short trips of 4 hrs or so. I will drain the hard cooler when I return to the truck after fishing.

 

When I arrive at my spot, I transfer the eels into my eel bag. Right now I'm using a small "3 can" soft sided cooler, but.used a bigger 6 can previously that worked fine but is larger than neccessary and you can add the frozen water bottle or for short trips go without. By now the eels should be comletely chilled out. Pun

 

Many people use mesh bags, but I dislike them for many reasons. You can't keep eels chilled, the mesh acts like a cheese grater removing slime and leaving eels in bad shape, waders stink from eel juice, they get banged around heavily when walking and wind dries them out quickly.

 

Since the eels are chilled you won't need brillo pads or burlap, cut up t shirts work fine as eel rags and get tossed along w water bottles after a session or two.

 

When your done just dump the eels back in the tank and go to bed!

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Good post Krispy. I wish I had an eel tank but it's just not in the cards for me.

 

I use the mesh bag for delicates as my bag. I have never had the cheese grater effect. I figure if it's good enough for a woman's skivvies, it's good enough for eels.

 

When I walk, I carry the eels by the purse string in hand. Never attached to my belt. It only gets attached to the belt when I enter the water and there it just floats around. I have tried the soft sided cooler thing but the zipper gets sand caught in it and it fills with water eventually. I don't know if I'd trust a velcro job to 6 eels trying to slither out.

 

Also, how do you get your eels? Trap? Bulk supply company? Or do you just buy them at the tackle shop and add them to the tank?

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View PostIt sounds like a lot of guys find using eels a hassle. I thought I would post how I maintain and carry eels, and get some other suggestions or Q&A. BTW, this how it works for me and how I've refined it, there's no oneway to do it.

 

First off, I keep an eel tank to have snakes onhand all the time, be able to cull size, and keep from throwing away eels I don't use in a nights fishing. I've had some eels in there an entire season, live happily and be pardoned in late Nov.

In the past I used a black 55gal barrell successfully, but now I keep a 128qt (30gal) cooler on the shady side of the house. The bottom interior is painted black w Krylon Fusion plastic paint, which keeps the eels a dark color. Also, I added a large 3 inch ball valve for quick draining from HD, and notched the top corner of cooler to allow 2 air hoses to pass through.

I use a basic fish tank airator that has two air lines. The airator is in the basement and the air hoses pass thru where my dryer vent exits the house. Keeping it inside also means its pulling cooler air in the summer.

When transporting eels to the fishing grounds, I use one of the small red and white Igloo hard coolers and load up 12-20 eels per trip. I also keep several frozen 12oz and 8oz plastic bottles at all times and I throw one into the eel cooler, Ill do this before I start loading gear. If its a short trip Ill open the bottle to let the melting water additionally settle the eels but for longer nights I keep it closed. The eels will not suffocate for short trips of 4 hrs or so. I will drain the hard cooler when I return to the truck after fishing.

When I arrive at my spot, I transfer the eels into my eel bag. Right now I'm using a small "3 can" soft sided cooler, but.used a bigger 6 can previously that worked fine but is larger than neccessary and you can add the frozen water bottle or for short trips go without. By now the eels should be comletely chilled out. Pun

Many people use mesh bags, but I dislike them for many reasons. You can't keep eels chilled, the mesh acts like a cheese grater removing slime and leaving eels in bad shape, waders stink from eel juice, they get banged around heavily when walking and wind dries them out quickly.

Since the eels are chilled you won't need brillo pads or burlap, cut up t shirts work fine as eel rags and get tossed along w water bottles after a session or two.

When your done just dump the eels back in the tank and go to bed!

 

 

Now I know where to get my eels.smile.gifbiggrin.gifwink.gifbeers.gif

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Patrick, what ever works for you is the best way to do it. As far as getting eels go, for me, the most important factor is getting the right size. I buy my eels from the tackle shop, usually in bulk, and they throw me a discount, but I'd actually pay xtra to pick my own. I know when their eels are delivered and go that day to pick my own. Thats when being in a shops good graces helps.

 

Dredey, your always welcome to help yourself, leave a pinner in the tank for me!

 

Rob, the soft sided coolers usually have a shoulder strap, Ill be adding grommets to my 3 can cooler straps so I can attach an adjustable shoulder strap to it over the winter. They do float, and Ive never encountered water coming into the cooler under any circumstances I fish so far, although they're not waterproof zippers.

 

As a side not, alot of the guys I fish with prefer using large plastic jars with screw lids and adding shoulder straps to it. It another good way to carry eels. Keep in mind the opening needs to be large enough to get a fist holding an eel through it!

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Wet, slippery, feisty eels and wet hands.kooky.gif NO THANKS!cwm27.gif

 

I toss one of those blue plastic ice packs in my Aquaskinz belt pouch, drop a few snakes on top, and place a cheap terry cloth towel on top of them. Zip up and go.

 

The ice chills them out, the slime drips out the drain holes, and I can grab them with the rag.

 

WORKS LIKE A CHAHM! biggrin.gif

 

J

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Good info my friend. I don't have a tank, but what i do, on every outing is buy what I need. Usually up to a half dozen of so. I put them in my covered bait bucket, and fill with ice. It takes me 1 1/2 hours to get to SoCo, from where I live in Central. Ct.. When I get to where I'm gonna cast, I empty the loose water, and fill with more ice. The eels are numb, lol. I hook this small bucket to my waders, and head on out. I usually go home with none, sometimes I run out, if the toothy ones are around. smile.gif

 

I like the small can cooler, and have seen some using them.

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I have the 3 bucket system that stays in the truck, then just throw them in a soft sided cooler...I really dont get the "difficulty" a lot of folks talk about..I havent had an eel ball in years and fish eels, at least, 80% of the time...

I also throw bunker oil in with the ice....

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Sort of like scouting new spots, I have a guy that keeps and carries eels for me. 40.gif

 

Serisosuly though, I keep eels alive at home in an old cooler, painted black on the inside, rigged with an air pump and a couple of aquarium stones. Change the water every few days in the cold, more often in the heat.

 

As to toting them along on an outing, how I am fishing decides how they travel. Atop a jetty they go in a bucket, working a location where I can set them down and fish a few yards away, they go in a soft sided cooler, and when wetsuiting they go in a gallon mayonaise jug with starps attached and the whole rig goes over my shoulder like a plug bag. I have never been a fan fo the mesh bags as more seemed to die in the bag than in the mouth of a bass.

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I have started using rigged. Almost never fish live eels because of the decline of the population. Just a personal decision. I go to a shop that freezes the ones that die in the tank. Buy a dozen, thaw am and rig em, throw em in the freezer. Did ok on em over the last few seasons as I have started to supplement my plug fishing. I would definately like to have the time and facilities to work on captive breeding of eels. Could be a gold mine for the person that figures that one out.

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